The US presidential election may still be in the balance at the time of writing, but five states where cannabis was on the ballot saw measures passed to legalise recreational and medicinal use.

Voters in New Jersey, Montana and Arizona voted to legalise recreational cannabis while Mississippi approved measures to approve medical use. Voters in South Dakota voted to legalise both medical and recreational cannabis at the same time.

Where states approved recreational use, all measures applied to adults aged 21 and over and will come into effect during 2021.

Meanwhile in Oregon, where cannabis is already legal, voters approved measures to decriminalize small amounts of street drugs and the therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms.

Analysts predict the sector will grow by US$9 billion over the next five years as a result of the changes.

However, with it looking unlikely that the more cannabis-friendly Democrats will take control of the Senate this election cycle, hopes are fading over the prospects of cannabis being legalised at a federal level through the Kamala Harris-backed Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.

Cannabis was illegal throughout the US until 2012, when voters in Colorado and Washington approved recreational use.

Since then several other states have either legalised or decriminalised recreational use and, while it’s still illegal at a national level, with the new states added to the tally, around 33% of Americans will soon be able to buy cannabis legally.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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